Wondering what to see and do in India in November? November is an excellent month to visit India. The weather is starting becoming cooler and dryer, and the full moon at this time of year -- in the Hindu month of Kartika -- is considered to be particularly auspicious. You'll find fairs and religious celebrations happening all over the country. Here's the best of what's on in November in India (listed by date).
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This traditional Indian style festival sees an astonishing 30,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town of Pushkar. The camels are dressed up, shaved, entered into beauty contests, paraded, raced, and traded. An entertaining sight indeed! Do arrive a couple of days before the official starting date to catch the most camel trading action.
- When: October 28-November 4, 2017.
- Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan.
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The three-day International Hot Air Ballooning Festival is an added attraction at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Similar to the Taj Balloon Festival in Agra, it's hosted by Sky Waltz, and features hot air balloons from around the world and a Night Glow Music Concert. Accommodation and balloon flight packages are offered for visitors.
- When: During the Pushkar Camel Fair.
- Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan.
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Ganga Mahotsav and Dev Deepavali
Held along the banks of the holy Ganges River, this festival features cultural programs of classical music and dance. The highlight of the festival is on the last day, when more than a million clay lamps are floated down the river at dusk amidst chanting of Vedic hymns as part of Dev Deepavali.
- When: November 1-3, 2017.
- Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
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Organized by Nada Yoga School every year since 2008, the International Yoga and Music Festival features 50 of the best professional yoga teachers, Ayurvedic doctors, nad yogis, yoga lecturers, musicians, and philosophers from Rishikesh and abroad. Free classes and lectures are held with topics including yoga asanas, shatkarma, Ayurveda, philosophy, and Indian classical music. There's an Indian classical music concert in the evenings as well.
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- When: November 1-7, 2017.
- Where: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
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This desert festival highlights the vibrancy of the Kutch region's culture and heritage, although it's become increasingly commercial and overcrowded. The days are filled with folk dances and music, adventure sports, handicrafts, food stalls, and excursions to surrounding destinations. Hundreds of luxury tents are set up on the fringe of the white salt desert to accommodate visitors. Gujarat Tourism offers packages.
- When: November 1, 2017-February 20, 2018. It's best on full moon nights to see the moon shining on the salt. (November 3, December 3, January 1, and January 31).
- Where: Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Dhordo, Gujarat.
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Kolayat Fair (Kapil Muni Fair)
The largest fair of Bikaner district, in India's desert state of Rajasthan, the Kolayat Fair combines a huge cattle fair with a pilgrimage to the town's holy lake. It's quite a spectacle as buffaloes, camels, horses and cattle are traded, and pilgrims bathe and float clay lanterns in the lake.
- When: November 2-4, 2017.
- Where: Kolayat, near Bikaner, Rajasthan.
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This modern and contemporary art fair aims to provide a cultural bridge between Indian artists, art galleries, art collectors and connoisseurs. The artworks on display will include paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, and video and digital art by over 400 artists. Entry is free, and various workshops and panel discussions will also take place.
- When: November 2-5, 2017.
- Where: Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai.
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Cattle market meets mass bathing ceremony at this regional equivalent of the Pushkar Fair. The Chandrabhaga River is holy to Hindus and it attracts many pilgrims who come to take a bath on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. The fair is also quite a big one, with buffaloes, camels, cows, bullocks and horses on sale. Rajasthan Tourism organizes cultural events as well.
Continue to 9 of 18 below.
- When: November 3-5, 2017.
- Where: Jhalawar, Rajasthan.
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Guru Nanak Jayanti
This event is a commemoration of Guru Nanak's birthday (he was the founder of the Sikh religion), and is widely celebrated throughout Punjab but especially so at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the main shrine of the Sikhs. The day of the festival sees the holy book carried out of the temple in a huge procession, accompanied by music and drummers. The beautifully illuminated temple is an incredible sight to behold at this time.
- When: November 4, 2017.
- Where: Amritsar, Punjab.
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Another festival that takes place along the banks of the Ganges River, you can see thousands of devotes (and elephants!) taking a holy dip. Livestock is traded at the fairground, including a large number of elephants. There's also an array of shops selling all kinds of merchandise.
- When: For a month, starting November 4, 2017. (Make sure you arrive by November 3 so you can see the devotees bathing in the river at sunrise on November 4, Kartik Purima).
- Where: Sonepur, around 25 kilometers from Patna, Bihar.
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Bundi is a picturesque spot in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan. The Bundi Utsav brings it alive with the culture, folklore, traditions and craft of the region. The festival commences with a procession, and features an arts and crafts fair, traditional rural sports, cultural exhibition, and folk/classical music and dance program. There's even a turban competition. Fireworks cap off the festival.
- When: November 6-8, 2017.
- Where: Bundi, Rajasthan.
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Also know as the 100 Drum Wangala Festival, this is the biggest harvest festival of Meghalaya's Garo tribe in northeast India. Held in honor of the Sun God of fertility, the festival marks the end of the sowing season and agricultural year. It's celebrated by the beating of drums, blowing horns, and traditional dancing. Festival highlights include a traditional dance competition among Wangala troupes from the Garo Hills, slow-cooking competition, indigenous games, and handloom and handicrafts exhibition.
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- When: November 10, 2017.
- Where: Garo Hills, Meghalaya.
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The three-day festival at this snake temple is sure to leave an impression. The unusual temple is a pilgrimage center for devotees of serpent gods and has Brahmin woman chief priestess. Rituals involve the worship of snake gods and goddesses, and the celebrations culminate in a procession of all the serpent idols on the last day.
- When: November 11, 2017.
- Where: Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja temple, Harippad, Alleppey district, Kerala.
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Suitable for both couples and singles, the Osho International Tantra Festival features a line up of renowned international Tantra teachers and healers. It consists of different Tantra and Biodanza workshops every day, a healing temple, live traditional music from Baul musicians, DJs and dance parties, Osho active meditations, Love Lounge, and sacred ceremonies. The theme this year is "Divine Archetypes", and there will be daily special meditations and transmissions to anchor them to the body.
- When: November 14-19, 2017. This is followed by an optional two day Living Tantra experience of co-habitating in a Tantric community.
- Where: Zorba the Buddha Center, Delhi.
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The Matsya Festival showcases Rajasthani culture and heritage at its best. Attractions include exhibitions, competitions, sports, folk music, songs and dances.
- When: November 25-26, 2017.
- Where: Alwar, Rajasthan.
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Fancy a peaceful bird's-eye view of the Taj Mahal, away from the crowds? Don't miss the first Taj Balloon Festival, hosted by Sky Waltz (the premier hot air ballooning company in India) in conjunction with Uttar Pradesh Tourism. Hot air balloonists from 15 countries around the world will grace the skies. In the evening, enjoy live music performances under the warm glow of the hot air balloons. Luxury package tours, including balloon flights, are available.
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- When: Dates to be announced.
- Where: Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
- Hot Air Balloon Flights in India: What You Need to Know
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This remarkable traveling festival is back for the second edition this year. It shares the power of Bhakti and Sufi music and poetry, with the aim of promoting communal peace and harmony. Artists from Kutch, Malwa, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi will perform along with those from Rajasthan. The festival will also feature works of painters, sculptors and photographers inspired by the Sufi-Bhakti tradition.
- When: Dates to be announced.
- Where: Bikaner and surrounding villages in Rajasthan.
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The annual India Surf Festival is into its fifth year in 2016, and will be bigger and better than ever! It features way more than just surfing. Organized by the Surfing Yogis (a group of like-minded people who combine surfing, yoga, and nature), it's an eco-friendly celebration of oneness that provides a creative platform for freedom of expression encompassing adventure, music, dance, art, and photography. There's also early morning beach yoga, and workshops ranging from longboarding to stand-up paddle boarding.
- When: Dates to be announced.
- Where: Ramchandri Beach, Lotus Resort, near Puri, Odisha.
- India Surf Festival Essential Guide
- India Surf Festival: Much More than Fun in the Sun